XI'AN - At least nine people were killed and two others were injured in a firecracker workshop blast in Northwest China's Shaanxi Province on late Wednesday afternoon, local government said Thursday.
At around 5:30 pm Wednesday, an explosion occurred at a rural household at Shendu Village of Tianjiazhuang Town, Fengxiang County, said a statement of the county's publicity department.
Rescuers pulled six injured people from debris at around 6:30 pm and sent them to hospital. Four of them had died in hospital by 3 am Thursday.
By Thursday morning, five more bodies had been retrieved at the accident site, said the statement.
Two passer-bys suffered injures, which is not life threatening, in the blast, said the statement.
Preliminary investigation by local police found that the blast was ignited by illegal production of firecrackers with explosives.
Police were looking for the organizers of the unlicensed production, who were believed to have fled.
Local government has pledged to soon investigate and crack down on illegal production of firecrackers, which often becomes rampant when the traditional Chinese New Year holiday approaches.